Corn rootworm a likely 2021 threat


Corn rootworm a likely 2021 threat

An agronomist is seeing the threat of a 2021 corn rootworm problem.

Eric Birschbach operates Ag Site Crop Consulting in Verona, Wisconsin.  He tells Brownfield his customers in Dane, Iowa, Lafayette counties experienced some strong winds before corn reached the tasseling stage. “Especially in southwest Wisconsin, it blew a lot of corn down. Looking at those corn plants, they were missing some of their roots so we’d have about six, six-and-a-half-foot tall corn, but the root mass that would be maybe as big as your fist, and I don’t have a very big fist, so that was a problem.”

He says by then, the root mass should have been much bigger.  Birschbach says a lot of that corn goosenecked up after being blown down, but it sounds the alarm for what might be coming. “Late-season here, as I’ve been looking for leafhoppers in alfalfa, I’ve also been stepping into cornfields at pollination or slightly after, and I’m surprised by the number of corn rootworm beetles I’ve seen as well.”

Birschbach doesn’t expect a major yield hit this year. “This year I think, for the guys that I work with, it will be a minor impact. I think it’s one of those agronomic threats that going forward if it catches us unaware, it could have significant consequences.”

Birschbach says with his observations and similar findings by the state ag department’s survey, it will be important to make sure 2021 corn has the appropriate protection or crop rotation to reduce rootworm impact.